Skip to main content

Full text of "NightRider"

See other formats

could just figger they meant what they said, being up so late
and gallivanten round over the country that-a-way, losing
their rest. So I scraped. Yeah, and, by God, I mean to say
I worked fast. All I was sorry for was I didn't have me a hoe
in both hands. Then, when I got through, they said they
was glad to see I was such a stout man and a willen worker
and they wanted to compliment me, they said. Then they
all said * Good-night, Mr. McCarthy/ and went off, and left
me standing down there by the plant bed. Then I come on
back up to the house."

He was a slow, angular fellow. He wore freshly washed
overalls, and a blue shirt and an old black coat. When he
finished a sentence, he would stop and lean forward and spit
between his teeth with a small, hissing sound. Mr. Munn
had never seen him before. He tried to imagine the events
the man described, but they seemed unreal, remote, and fan-
tastic. He thought, I might just as well have been one of
those men, and here I am sitting here, listening to him. He
looked covertly about at the other men on the benches and
in the chairs, and thought that some of those very men might
be night riders, you couldn't tell, and might even have been in
the band that called on McCarthy.

One of the barbers called, " You're next, Mr. Munn." And
Mr. Munn rose, and went to the chair. As he lay there in
the chair, with his eyes dosed and the steaming towels on his
face and the muffled and confused sound of voices coming to
him, he thought how little you could really tell about another
man, even a man you saw every day. "You're next, Mr.
Munn," the barber had said, calling him by his name. He
knew Ms name, and spoke it, but what did he know? Or
anybody else? A man might be to another man only the
sound of a voice muffled and incoherent like the voices he
now heard. Lying there in the chair, he recalled the moment
of sickness, almost nausea, that first night when they had
called a man out " What do you-all aim to do to me?" the
man had asked. He had been very calm. And the same
sickness had recurred later when another man—Mr. Trice